Devil’s Garden by Aline Templeton

Devil's Garden

Devil’s Garden (DI Kelso Strang Book 3) by Aline Templeton
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 3.3 MB

When DCI Kelso Strang hears that an old friend from Police College days suspects there is corruption in her local station at Halliburgh in the Borders of Scotland, he sends her down undercover so they can act before a major scandal erupts.

Anna Harper’s brilliant literary novels are international best-sellers. Her friend and housekeeper Marta Morelli ensures that her private and professional life run smoothly and Anna, acclaimed, rich and elegant, has everything a hugely successful woman could want – except peace of mind. They both live with the knowledge of what they have done and the gnawing worry that one day it might come to light.

When Anna’s son, Felix, dies of an overdose that may well have been a mistake and her daughter, Cassandra, has an accident that may well have been just that, she refuses to accept reassurance from the police. Just as the situation becomes critical, the Beast from the East roars in bringing chaos and Strang – engaged now in a life-or-death struggle – can do nothing but rage and wait for the thaw.

Kelso didn’t try to deny it. Major General Sir Roderick Strang had found so much to disapprove of, even before things fell apart – his daughter’s choice of Mark in the first place, and then her carelessness in failing to get respectably married before she had a baby – and it was hard to imagine him keeping his opinions to himself as details emerged at the trial.

‘Well, he’ll be glad now that you weren’t married,’ was the best he could offer.

‘It’s very good of them to say they’ll help me rent a flat, but – but I just don’t think I could cope.’ She gave a watery smile. ‘Sounds feeble, I know, but Betsy’s been so confused and unsettled, I just dread upsetting her all over again. You saw her when Mark said he was coming to take her out and didn’t turn up. I didn’t know what to do.’

Oh yes, he’d witnessed Betsy’s bewildered distress and been seized with a murderous rage; if he could have got his hands on the rotten bastard at that moment he’d have been the one up on a charge. With Finella so upset herself, it had needed Kelso to soothe the poor little thing with cuddles at first and then distraction – or bribery, to call it by its proper name. He could see what was coming.

There were tears in Finella’s eyes. ‘Oh I know, it’s an awful cheek. But you’ve been wonderful and I just don’t know what I’d do without you. Betsy adores you and I know you love her too. You wouldn’t mind if we stayed just a bit longer, would you? Just till we find our feet again?’

‘No, of course I don’t mind.’ What else could he say? But it shocked him to realise quite how much he did mind.

He loved kids. He and Alexa had been on their way to having their own, before the accident that had killed them both and left Kelso with a scar down the side of his face as a memento. The emptiness of the house – an old fisherman’s cottage on the shore at Newhaven in Edinburgh – had oppressed him at first, but in time he had come to relish it as an oasis in his stressful professional life. Having been an army sniper he had always been comfortable enough with his own company, and being DCI of the Serious Rural Crime Squad was a maverick job that could mean being sent solo anywhere in Scotland to direct operations at the local level where there was only a scaled-down CID.

Your own child is one thing; someone else’s child quite another. He’d never felt inclined to create a shrine of any sort, but in the little yellow-painted bedroom, so hopefully prepared as a nursery, there had lingered if not quite a ghost then the gentle spirit of the child who had never been. Now it resounded to Betsy’s cheerful chattering and her toys lay so thick on the ground that you could hardly see the carpet.

And when he had come home after being away on a job to find that Finella had emptied out all the kitchen cupboards and reorganised them, he’d had to get out of the room so that he wouldn’t explode.

‘It’s much easier for breakfast now,’ she had said happily to his retreating back. ‘Much more logical. I can’t imagine why you would want to have the coffee in this one, and the cereal right along there at the other end.’

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